Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rose Green - May 21, 2008

First Impression of Auschwitz

When you arrived at Auschwitz, do you remember when the doors opened? What were your first impressions of the place?

It was the smell. The smell was awful.

What was the smell?

Like burning flesh. You know, when we came to America, we bought a house--our first house. And we--I had in the basement a little uh, burner, you know, you could burn trash. How you call those things, uh...


Incinerator, yeah. And I took--it was summer and I, you know, you take from, from meat the bones and stuff. So I didn't want to take them out in the garbage because it stank--it was stinky. So I took them down, I says, "How wonderful." I put them in that incinerator. I says, "I'm going to burn it. Wonderful, wonderful thing." That's the one thing I burned, because it brought, brought to my mind the Auschwitz and I sat down and in the basement and cried.

You still have that association with incinerators and chimneys?

Oh yeah, everything, everything. Smells, something like that.

So the first thing you remember is the smell.

The smell. And, and, you know the, the noise, the terrible noise. Everybody was screaming, hollering, rushing people back and forth. It was awful, it was awful.

Were there dogs?

Dogs, yeah. I, I don't even remember so much the dogs. The dogs I remember from inside already in the camp when they were going with the dogs around, and uh...

So they, they dragged you off the train and then what happened?

They dragged, dragged us off the train and took us in a room and we were so thirsty. It was like ???, not sleep for three days, not, not eat for three days. We ate, ate something. We brought some food, but uh, we didn't have any water, something warm, you know. And they came in, and they took us in and they cut our hair--shaved our heads. Took off our clothes, gave us some rags to wear and uh, they took our shoes and gave us those uh, those Hollands...

Wooden shoes.

Wooden shoes. It was very uncomfortable.

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